This loop makes for a solid outing on a good mix of dirt carriage roads and wooded singletrack trails. Some of the overlooks and viewpoints on this route are arguably the best in the area with sections of exposed rock to explore. For those who are sensitive to heights or exposure, there are a few instances where you may feel uncomfortable, but the trail is always a safe distance away from any edge.
To access this hike, begin at the Minnewaska Lake parking area and head towards the lake. Take the obvious carriage road/trail running along the lake and head counterclockwise.
Hike down a gentle hill with small rock faces on your right and the lake on the left. A summer swimming area will appear on your left with a nice beach. Continue up the trail as it gradually ascends. There are primitive toilets on the right if nature calls. The trail now gains more elevation and continues to circumnavigate the lake. Listen for water flowing down the rocks and into the lake on your left.
Next, look for the Millbrook Mountain Carriageway
, marked by yellow blazes, that begins on the southern corner of Lake Minnewaska. It runs south along the Palmaghatt Ravine edge with a slight uphill climb. The first trail junction is with the Hamilton Point and Castle Point trails which turn to the right. The Millbrook Mountain Carriageway
is a left at this juncture.
After 0.8 miles on this trail, you'll come out to the first breathtaking viewpoint at Patterson's Pellet. Continue for another half mile or so until you see the entrance for the Gertrude's Nose Trail
(red blazes), which departs to the right. Turn right and continue to follow the lip of the ravine.
Follow the red-blazed trail as it zigzags through bare rock, along the Palmaghatt Ravine, and through stands of trees. It will eventually lead out to a beautiful view at Gertrude's Nose. Along the way, there are some potentially dangerous ascents and descents so take your time and watch your footing.
At Gertrude's Nose, break out a packed lunch or snack and enjoy the well-earned views. From here, continue to follow the red blazes as the trail bends toward the northeast. Just after 4.4 miles, the trail will parallel the Millbrook Mountain Carriageway
as both come to an intersection with the Millbrook Ridge Trail
and Millbrook Mountain Trail
From this intersection, look for the sign for Lake Minnewaska and take the Millbrook Mountain Trail
to the northwest. You'll descend the hillside and cross Coxing Kill before climbing up the other side to the southern tip of the lake.
Here, turn right back onto the Minnewaska Lake Carriageway
and continue around the lake headed counterclockwise back to the parking area.